Is Zoom Teeth Whitening Safe?

Zoom teeth whitening AustinZoom teeth whitening is a dental procedure where the patient can enjoy whiter, brighter teeth in one brief dental appointment.

The process generally involves teeth being clinically cleaned to remove topical stain and dental plaque. The dentist will complete an exam to make sure the patient meets the minimal requirements for teeth whitening. It is usually recommended the patient be eighteen years of age; there is no active dental decay; there are no broken teeth or hairline cracks; excessive gum recession is not present … these dental conditions can mean the patient will experience sensitivity during the teeth whitening procedure.

Once the patient meets dental qualifications, it will be determined that any desired cosmetic dentistry will be completed after teeth whitening so your new cosmetic restoration will be color matched to your newly whitened biological teeth.

With Zoom teeth whitening, the patient can go from dull and drab to Hollywood WOW by lightening teeth up to eight shades.

The patient will get their new look underway with their dental professional placing protection on the soft mouth tissues to prevent burns (Zoom teeth whitening contains the most powerful whitening agents available, which is why it must be distributed by your dentist). The whitening gel is applied and teeth are subjected to a laser or curing light to expedite the process.

For many patients, one application will achieve the desired result; however, if needed a second application can be completed during the same session.

With Zoom teeth whitening, teeth can continue to lighten for up to two weeks following this in-office treatment so final results may not be immediately realized.

Zoom teeth whitening is completely safe. In addition to oral protection during application, eyewear is provided. In addition, your in-office treatment is administered by a trained dental professional … this means any concerns or questions you may have are addressed immediately. This benefit is not available with whitening products purchased online or at the drugstore.

Zoom also offers take-home whitening for individuals who wish to lighten their teeth at their own pace in the privacy of home. Guidance from your dentist is still available as this product is only distributed by a dental professional.

Touch up kits are available for both in-office and take home Zoom whitening that can be used as needed to keep your new smile bright.

Contact our cosmetic dentistry team at Balcones Family Dental for more information about teeth whitening today.

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Snap-On Smile: Am I a candidate?

cosmetic dentistry Round RockOne of the leading aesthetic enhancements individuals desire is a way to improve their smile. There is a solution that does not involve years of treatment, does not require permanent modifications to your own biological dentition, and is not harmful or painful to complete. Cosmetic dentistry offers many opportunities to improve appearance, but Snap-On-Smile is a quick and very economical method that appeals to many patients.

What is Snap-On Smile? Your dentist will take a dental impression of your upper, lower, or both arches. The impression(s) will be sent to the Snap-On Smile lab where your new smile will be fabricated using a strong resin material that will provide the user a final restoration that is strong and lifelike.

In a matter of a few weeks, the patient will visit their dentist to have their new smile fitted. Snap-On Smile literally slips onto your own natural teeth and is fitted snugly requiring no wires, clasps, cement, or glue to stay in place. 

Cosmetic dentistry offers many opportunities to improve appearance, but Snap-On-Smile is a quick and very economical method that appeals to many patients.

There are no age requirements … patients with missing teeth, a malocclusion, gum recession, chipped teeth, dental stain, or gaps between teeth can benefit from Snap-On Smile technology. Your Snap-On Smile dentist is qualified to make the determination of your candidacy for this cosmetic dentistry. Most patients will meet qualifications, but for teeth that are grossly misshapen or out of place, wearing Snap-On Smile might mean correction before completion can be done.

Your new smile merely fits over your existing dentition … is strong, yet flexible; is stain resistant; stays in place during meals and snacking; and is easy to maintain. Before going to bed, your smile appliance is removed and cleaned with the special product designed specifically for this purpose … it is important that normal tooth paste or gel not be used as it can damage the sheen on your new smile.

There are very few restrictions … chewing gum and eating sticky foods like caramel are discouraged. There is a brief adjustment period where sound pronunciation may be affected, as well as increased salivation may be experienced.

Even though your natural teeth are covered with your Snap-On Smile, it is imperative to maintain your dental health by brushing and flossing your biological teeth daily and visiting your dentist every six months for a clinical cleaning and dental exam.

Call our office at 512-200-7422 to reserve your appointment today.

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Harmful Dental Habits to Avoid

north Austin dentistWith the treatments available in modern dentistry, it is now possible for patients to keep their natural smiles well into their golden years. However, patients play an important role in preserving their smiles, and they must nix any harmful dental habits in order to achieve that goal.

One of the most detrimental habits for your oral health is avoiding your dentist. Even if you’re not experiencing any troubling symptoms or discomfort, it’s still important to check in with your dentist every six months for an exam and professional cleaning. This essential routine dental care can help to protect your oral health by keeping oral bacteria to a minimum and giving your dentist the opportunity to identify small problems and address them before they become major issue.

In addition to visiting your dentist on a regular basis, you should also avoid slacking on your home oral hygiene routine. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time and floss every day to keep your teeth in tip-top shape between dental appointments.

Certain habits may actually damage your teeth, too. For example, do you often bite into objects that aren’t food, like your fingernails or pencils or try to open a bottle with your teeth? Don’t! You could do serious damage to your teeth.

You may have some harmful dental habits that you’re not even aware of, too. Many people unconsciously grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism. Patients whose teeth show unexplained signs of wear and tear may want to consult with their dentists about wearing a mouthguard at night to eliminate contact between the upper and lower arches. This problem can be exacerbated by stress, so stress management techniques can also be effective at reducing the grinding of the teeth.

The next time you see your dentist, use that as an opportunity to check in and make sure that you don’t have any harmful dental habits that may affect your oral health. And if you haven’t seen our dentist, Dr. Paul Lounsberry in a while, take advantage of the chance to get back on track.

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Can I just wear Invisalign at night?

Invisalign north AustinPatients tend to choose the Invisalign system to straighten their teeth because of the convenience that this treatment offers in comparison to conventional orthodontic appliances.

Invisalign repositions the teeth using a series of progressive trays made of a clear plastic material, rather than standard metal brackets and wires used in other orthodontic interventions.

The patient’s dentist will provide a schedule for swapping out the trays, which generally happens every two weeks or so. Adhering to that schedule is the key to getting the desired outcomes from Invisalign.

Patients also must be sure to wear the trays for the recommended amount of time each day, generally between 20 and 22 hours each day. The patient is responsible for following the dentist’s instructions in using the trays properly. Patients must wear the trays during the day as well as at night in order to move their teeth. 

Adhering to that schedule is the key to getting the desired outcomes from Invisalign.

As a reward, their teeth will move more quickly (in some cases as little as a year) during treatment than they would with standard orthodontics.

There’s really no need to avoid wearing the trays, either. Although some Invisalign patients may be reluctant to wear their trays all day, the trays have minimal impact on day-to-day activities. They can be removed at mealtime and for brushing and flossing.

In fact, removable trays have a significant advantage over brackets and wires. Patients don’t have to restrict their diets, and they can easily brush and floss their teeth just as they have always done.

The rest of the time, you’ll barely even remember that you’re wearing the trays at all. Plus, since Invisalign doesn’t intrude on your smile’s appearance, no one else will realize that you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, either.

To get the desired results from your Invisalign trays, it’s important to wear them almost the entire day, removing the trays only when it’s time to eat or brush and floss your teeth. If you have any questions or concerns about how to wear your Invisalign trays, be sure to ask our dentist by calling 512-200-7422 today.

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When Can I Return to Work After Dental Implant Surgery?

dental implants north AustinFollowing surgery for dental implants, the patient may need anywhere from one or two days to a week off of work, depending on the type of work they do. A physically demanding job will require more time off after dental implant surgery, whereas a patient with a more sedentary job may be up to working the day after surgery. The implant dentist will make a recommendation that may vary between patients based on individual differences in health, physical capacity, surgery procedures, and work environment.

For the average patient, three or four days of rest will suffice after dental implant surgery. Tenderness and some swelling are normal and will subside within the first few days. Many dentists recommend having the implant surgery mid-week, allowing for a day or two off from work plus the weekend to recover. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for the first few days, to reduce the risk of bleeding, and if sutures or stitches were needed for the implant procedure, they will usually dissolve or fall out during the first week.

The recovery process following dental implant surgery extends beyond simply feeling better. For several weeks, most patients are required to adhere to a soft-food diet. Taking time to ensure the diet contains sufficient calories, protein, and nutrients will improve recovery and overall health.

Patients with smoking habits are required to abstain from smoking during the healing process. Smoking after dental implant surgery can increase risk of infection or lead to dental implant failure. This risk is higher when a bone graft is involved in the surgery process.

The dental implant process takes time. Following the implant surgery, depending on the location of the dental implant, there may be a wait period averaging three to six months before a tooth or crown is permanently placed. The dentist will explain the specific details for each procedure or process as they vary with factors unique to each patient. The dental implant is a customized procedure, designed to specifically fit and support each individual patient.

Contact our experienced dental implant team today and ask about dental implant procedures and options available and tailored for you!

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Healthy Dental Habits to Follow

dentist north AustinMake every trip to the dentist a reason to smile by incorporating the daily practice of healthy habits contributing to dental and oral health. Oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing, are only one part of caring for teeth, gums, and mouths. Taking care to floss regularly improves healthy gums and reduces buildup between teeth, where sneaky cavities lurk, but there are other habits that can help improve and maintain overall dental health.

Consuming simple or processed sugars and carbohydrates, such as those in soda, candy, and white bread or pastas, helps set the stage for bacteria growth and cavities by increasing sugars in the mouth. Simple carbohydrates digest fast and they start digesting before even swallowed, breaking down into sugars while still in the mouth. It’s not necessary to cut these foods out of a diet completely, but brushing immediately after eating them can greatly improve dental health efforts.

Staying hydrated also helps because, when properly hydrated, the mouth remains moist and saliva production is fairly consistent. Saliva helps remove food that may otherwise be stuck in the mouth. It also reduces acids in the mouth, protecting teeth and enamel. Chewing on sugar-free ADA-approved chewing gum, especially after a meal if brushing is inconvenient, can greatly improve oral health by increasing saliva in the mouth and helping to remove any remaining food particles. 

Maintaining regular checkups allow the dentist to spot any problems early and give a better chance for success with preventive treatments.

Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth and many, women especially, either consume too little calcium or begin suffering from bone loss typical of the aging process. A well-balanced diet that includes calcium-rich dairy or calcium-fortified non-dairy substitutes and juices ensures the body receives what it needs to keep teeth healthy and strong.

Maintaining regular checkups allow the dentist to spot any problems early and give a better chance for success with preventive treatments. When a problem is spotted, the dentist can treat early rather than risk tooth and gum damage.

Dentist visits are one part of the dental equation, and when combined with a healthy diet, good hydration, and diligent brushing and flossing habits, teeth and gums have the greatest chance of remaining strong and healthy for life.

Contact our dental health specialists at Balcones Family Dental today and learn more about improving and maintaining a healthy smile. Call 512-200-742 to schedule your visit.

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Negative Effects of Brushing Too Hard

dentist 78729Many patients believe that scrubbing teeth with a firm tooth brush and heavy hand will do a more thorough job of keeping plaque from forming on teeth. However, this type of dental treatment done on a regular basis can do much more harm than good … your dentist will be able to tell right away if you are using the wrong tooth brush and brushing pattern and help you to correct it.

The consequences of incorrect brushing can include:

  1. Premature gum recession – you can literally brush so hard that gum tissue will begin to wear away exposing parts of the tooth that may experience uncomfortable zinging when exposed to hot or cold.
  2. Worn enamel – There are several ways to wear enamel down from grinding and clenching to over brushing. Exposed dentin can lead to the need for cosmetic repair to even out the appearance of misshapen teeth due to worn enamel.
  3. Bleeding gums – Brushing too briskly can make gums bleed unnecessarily. However, it is important to note that bleeding gums can be an indicator of the onset of gum disease. If gums bleed when brushing, switch to a soft bristle tooth brush and less pressure. If gums continue to bleed, an appointment with your dentist will confirm whether gum disease or improper brushing technique is the problem.

There are things that you can do to keep gum tissue healthy and teeth as free from dental plaque build-up as possible:

  1. Use a soft bristle tooth brush, steady, even up and down strokes, and a fluoridated tooth paste or gel. Brush at least twice per day, more often if you can.
  2. Floss daily – this will help keep gum tissue stimulated and help to minimize plaque build-up.
  3. See your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and dental exam. Teeth will be polished to look their best, and your dentist can closely monitor you to catch potential problems before they can escalate.
  4. Consider an electronic tooth brush – This takes the guesswork out of brushing pressure; you merely guide the toothbrush and it does all the work. Another advantage of an electronic brush is that most come with a built in timer encouraging brushing for a advised two minutes each time you brush.

Our dental team can teach you the proper brushing technique to keep teeth and gums healthy.

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Invisalign Orthodontic Treatment for Comfort and Convenience

Invisalign Round RockSome of the biggest objections patients give for wearing traditional dental braces include having to deal with a specialized diet, difficulty with daily hygiene care, and the appearance of metal bands and brackets. The availability of Invisalign clear aligners removes all of these concerns and more.

A consultation with your dentist will outline the many advantages of investing in Invisalign for teeth straightening:

  1. Aligners are clear – The patient can undergo teeth straightening utilizing transparent aligners allowing repair for a dental malocclusion that is virtually undetectable.
  2. Aligners are removable – There are multiple advantages to this including … the ability to eat and drink whatever you wish as aligners are taken out for snacks and meals. In addition, brushing and flossing are easily completed since aligners are removed for daily hygiene tasks. This is also advantageous when seeing the dentist every six months for a complete cleaning and exam since your dental provider can more easily monitor your orthodontic progress along with spotting any other problems before they have a chance to escalate. Plaque build-up is more controlled minimizing concerns for dental decay and gum disease.
  3. Invisalign aligners are made from a plastic that is softer and more comfortable than standard braces. There is no metal to cause abrasions to soft mouth tissues; and no metal wires to break and poke cheeks.

During your consultation, your dentist will take photographs, dental x-rays, and impressions … these tools will be used to determine your candidacy for Invisalign. Once qualified, these items will be sent to the Invisalign lab for fabricating of the aligners.

The aligners are made using 3-D digital technology … every few weeks aligners will be changed to keep the straightening process moving forward in a gentle, yet effective process.

It is important that aligners be worn at least twenty to twenty-two hours each day for progress to stay on track. Once straightening has been achieved, the patient will be wearing a retainer to allow teeth to form a “memory” of their new, corrected position. This is one of the most important aspects of treatment to prevent teeth from drifting back.

Having teeth straightened with Invisalign is both comfortable and convenient with the reward being a smile makeover that will last a lifetime coupled with straight teeth that will allow for healthier teeth and gums.

Contact Balcones Family Dental at 512-200-742 today to schedule your Invisalign consultation.

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How Stain Resistant are Porcelain Veneers?

veneers north austinWhen it comes to cosmetic dentistry, porcelain veneers are generally regarded as the best procedure to produce a total smile overhaul. Concealing nearly every imaginable smile imperfection, porcelain veneers are worn by some of the world’s most famous entertainment and public figures. Fortunately, porcelain veneers are not just available to the rich and famous; your cosmetic dentist provides this one-of-a-kind smile makeover procedure, too. 

Because veneers are crafted from porcelain, they are very resistant to staining. 

Made from wafer-thin, handcrafted pieces of porcelain, these cosmetic enhancements are permanently bonded to the outer surfaces of teeth. Veneers are made from a variety of shades of white porcelain to produce a uniformly bright smile to suit an individual patient’s needs. Veneers also cover imperfections such as crooked teeth and gapped teeth along with concealing teeth damaged by chips and cracks. Once veneers are bonded to teeth, a patient enjoys a flawless and aesthetically pleasing smile free of noticeable imperfections. Not only do veneers produce a celebrity-worthy smile, they also appear natural and life-like.

Because veneers are crafted from porcelain, they are very resistant to staining. Your cosmetic dentist also polishes veneers with a special glaze to provide further protection. This glaze can be reapplied if veneers become dull over time. Along with porcelain’s light-reflecting properties, the glaze also promotes a natural appearance by giving your cosmetic enhancements a tooth-like luster.

For patients interested in improving their smiles through cosmetic dentistry procedures such as placing porcelain veneers, our team welcomes you to schedule a consultation with our caring, skilled dentist. During your consultation, our team will help you determine which procedure is right for your unique needs. If you and our dentist decide that veneers are right for you, impressions of your teeth will be taken to determine the exact shape and size each veneer should be. After a dental technician has made your veneers, you will return to our practice for the placement process. This procedure is minimally invasive and does not require anesthesia.

To schedule a smile makeover consultation, contact our office at 512-200-7422 today.

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